Skip to main content

Dill use while Breastfeeding

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Sep 15, 2023.

Dill Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding

Summary of Use during Lactation

Dill (Anethum graveolens) seeds contain essential oil rich in carvone and limonene, in addition to phenolics, such as trans-anethole, and flavonoids. Dill is a purported galactogogue.[1-5] No scientifically valid clinical trials support this use, and one small, old study found no galactogogue effect of a primary dill component, d-carvone.[6] Galactogogues should never replace evaluation and counseling on modifiable factors that affect milk production.[7,8] Two studies found small, but measurable amounts of d-carvone in the milk of mothers given the chemical experimentally. Dill is "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) as a food by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is generally well tolerated, but occasional allergic skin reactions have been reported, especially after contact with fresh dill. In two studies, nursing mothers were given d-carvone. No adverse effects were noted in the mothers or infants.

Dietary supplements do not require extensive pre-marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Manufacturers are responsible to ensure the safety, but do not need to prove the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements before they are marketed. Dietary supplements may contain multiple ingredients, and differences are often found between labeled and actual ingredients or their amounts. A manufacturer may contract with an independent organization to verify the quality of a product or its ingredients, but that does not certify the safety or effectiveness of a product. Because of the above issues, clinical testing results on one product may not be applicable to other products. More detailed information about dietary supplements is available elsewhere on the LactMed Web site.

Drug Levels

Maternal Levels. Twenty mothers consumed 30 mg of d-carvone in 75 grams of hummus every third day for 28 days (10 exposures) at about 2 hours before a "usual" nursing time. Breastmilk samples were obtained 2 hours after ingestion on the first and last days of carvone intake. Carvone was detectable in the milk of 18 mothers. Average carvone concentrations in breastmilk were 2.5 mcg/L and 3.8 mcg/L on the first and last days of sampling, respectively. However, these values did not differ statistically, and the combined average carvone concentration was 3.2 mcg/L. A control group of 20 women who did not ingest d-carvone had no detectable carvone in their breastmilk.[6]

Eighteen lactating women were given 100 mg of d-carvone mixed with lactose and talc in a capsule on 3 test days. Milk samples were collected every 2 hours for 8 hours starting at the time of ingestion. Carvone was detected in milk at all collection times, with the average concentrations of 1.3 mcg/L at 0 hours, 7.2 mcg/L at 2 hours, 5.6 mcg/L at 4 hours, 4.3 mcg/L at 6 hours and 2.7 mcg/L at 8 hours after the dose. The average peak carvone concentration in milk was 10.5 mcg/L. Carvone metabolites were not detected in any milk samples.[9]

Infant Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Effects in Breastfed Infants

A study compared 3 groups of women. One group of 20 nursing mothers consumed 30 mg of d-carvone in 75 grams of hummus every third day for 28 days (10 exposures) at about 2 hours before a "usual" nursing time. A second group of 20 nursing mothers followed the same regimen, but their hummus contained no d-carvone. A third group of 8 mothers received the d-carvone flavored hummus, but were exclusively formula feeding their infants. After this 28-day period, both groups of breast-fed infants showed greater acceptance of d-carvone-flavored mashed potatoes than the formula-fed infants who preferred the unflavored potatoes. The authors interpreted these results to mean that breastfed infants are more receptive to a wide array of flavors than formula-fed infants.[6]

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

A convenience sample of 60 women whose infants were admitted to the neonatal ICU were given either nothing (n = 30) or dill seeds tea (containing 1 tablespoon of dill seeds, 200 mL of water, 1 tablespoon jaggery (unrefined sugar), and half a tablespoon of cow ghee) daily in the morning for 5 days. Mothers responded to a questionnaire related to suckling sufficiency using a Likert scale. A statistically significant improvement in lactation was reported among the women given the dill seed tea.[5] However, the lack of randomization, blinding and a placebo control diminish the validity of this study.


Low Dog T. The use of botanicals during pregnancy and lactation. Altern Ther Health Med 2009;15:54-8. [PubMed: 19161049]
Javan R, Javadi B, Feyzabadi Z. Breastfeeding: A review of its physiology and galactogogue plants in view of traditional Persian medicine. Breastfeed Med 2017;12:401-9. [PubMed: 28714737]
Alachkar A, Jaddouh A, Elsheikh MS, et al. Traditional medicine in Syria: Folk medicine in Aleppo governorate. Nat Prod Commun 2011;6:79-84. [PubMed: 21366051]
Kaygusuz M, Gümüştakım RŞ, Kuş C, et al. TCM use in pregnant women and nursing mothers: A study from Turkey. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2021;42:101300. [PubMed: 33412511]
Patel V, Prakasam A, Patel CH, et al. Effect of dill seed tea on lactation among postnatal mothers admitted in tertiary care hospital. Journal of Natural Remedies 2023;23:1141-1144.
Hausner H, Nicklaus S, Issanchou S, et al. Breastfeeding facilitates acceptance of a novel dietary flavour compound. Clin Nutr 2010;29:141-8. [PubMed: 19962799]
Brodribb W. ABM Clinical Protocol #9: Use of galactogogues in initiating or augmenting maternal milk production, second revision 2018. Breastfeed Med 2018;13:307-14. [PubMed: 29902083]
Breastfeeding challenges: ACOG Committee Opinion, Number 820. Obstet Gynecol 2021;137:e42-e53. [PubMed: 33481531]
Hausner H, Bredie WL, Mølgaard C, et al. Differential transfer of dietary flavour compounds into human breast milk. Physiol Behav 2008;95:118-24. [PubMed: 18571209]

Substance Identification

Substance Name


Scientific Name

Anethum graveolens

CAS Registry Number


Drug Class

Breast Feeding


Milk, Human

Complementary Therapies


Plants, Medicinal

Disclaimer: Information presented in this database is not meant as a substitute for professional judgment. You should consult your healthcare provider for breastfeeding advice related to your particular situation. The U.S. government does not warrant or assume any liability or responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information on this Site.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.